How COVID-19 Will Increase Inequality in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies

2020-10-30T15:49:14-04:00October 29, 2020|

By Gabriela Cugat and Futoshi Narita

عربي, 中文, Español, Français, 日本語, Português, Русский 

Emerging markets and developing economies grew consistently in the two decades before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, allowing for much-needed gains in poverty reduction and life expectancy. The crisis now puts much of that progress at risk while further widening the gap between rich and poor.

Despite the pre-pandemic gains in poverty reduction and lifespans, many of these countries have struggled to reduce income inequality. At the same time, they saw persistently high shares of inactive youth (i.e., those not in employment, education, or training), wide inequality in education, and large gaps remaining in economic opportunities for women. COVID-19 is expected to make inequality even worse than past crises since measures to contain the pandemic have had disproportionate effects on vulnerable workers and women.

As part of our latest World Economic Outlook we explore two facts about the current pandemic to estimate its effect on inequality: a person’s ability to work from home and the drop in GDP expected for most countries in the world.

The impact of where you work

First, the ability to work from home has been key during the pandemic. A […]